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10/11 NOW Follow-up: UNLPD updates crime log, now showing three open sexual assault cases in the past five years

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Since protests first rang out at the Phi Gamma Delta “FIJI” Fraternity House last week, five new cases of sexual assault have been reported to the University of Nebraska Police Department.

One of those, a rape reported at Sigma Chi fraternity, which is now under self-suspension during the investigation. Four other reports are belated reports of assaults that have happened over the last two years.

After the FIJI protests began, 10/11 NOW pulled rape and attempted rape reports from the UNLPD public crime log from August 2016 to Aug. 26, 2021. We found there had been 66 cases reported, with 32 of them left open.

After putting a request for comment into UNLPD Thursday, 10/11 NOW now knows why so many of those cases remained open.

In an email from UNLPD, the department said those cases weren’t meant to be investigated. They were reported by the UNL Title IX office without any victim information. Since 10/11 NOW aired a story on the open cases, the public crime log now lists them as “closed - inactive.”

In addition to this explanation, UNLPD also provided a break down of the sexual assault reports made between Sept. 9, 2015 and Aug. 25, 2021. That report shows UNLPD received 78 total reports. Thirty-one of them were reported by the Title IX office, 47 of them were investigated by UNLPD.

Of those 47, one was determined to be out of UNLPD jurisdiction.

Based on those numbers, UNLPD actually has three open cases, not 32. Forty-two of the 47 cases are marked inactive, but could be re-opened because there’s no statute of limitations on sexual assault cases.

Out of the 47 total investigations, only one arrest has been made.

10/11 NOW asked UNLPD why only one case has resulted in an arrest. In an email, UNLPD said this can happen for a number of different reasons. In some cases the victim doesn’t wish to pursue prosecution but wanted the police to know about the incident. In other cases, UNLPD said the reports are days or years making it difficult to collect evidence. In other instances, UNLPD said the county attorney has reviewed the charges and decline to prosecute.

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